How Your Website Works – In Plain English

I’m writing this piece because I’ve been asked the same question over and over again.

“How do I get a website and what do I need to do?”

I completely understand that this can seem daunting for a lot of people, especially when building websites has always been seen as something only intelligent “computer geeks” do.

Well that might be the mindset for a lot of people and yes like any other job/business it’s not easy and requires someone who knows what they’re doing to walk you through.

So that’s what I’m going to do.

I’m going to shed some light on the things you need to know about websites before getting your business website built.

Lets begin by clarifying (in plain English) how a website works on the internet.

How your website works on the internet (in plain English)

I’m going to assume you have heard about the Internet and the World Wide Web so I wont be going into all the finer details of how that works.

What you do need to understand is that the internet is like a series of interconnected roads with lots of different addresses, similar to those you would find on a road map.

websideview website domain names

Domain Names and Domain Registrars

These different addresses (Domain Names) are owned by different companies know as Domain Registrars (similar to Commercial Landlords) and they can lease them out to you and I for an agreed period of time (people talk about buying domains but you never really buy them).

Two popular Domain Registrars are GoDaddy and 123-Reg but these are not the only ones so look around or have a word with your Web Consultant or Developer to makes sure you get the best fit for you.

Each Domain Name is like the address to a shop/office within a Shopping Mall (like the Trafford Centre or Meadow Hall) and we can rent them from Domain Registrars for an agreed period of time.

Website Hosting for your New Domain Name

Once you “buy” (rent) a domain name you must then pay a Website Hosting Company (analogous to a Property Management Company) to manage your website (your shop/office) within this “shopping mall”.

The easiest way to understand this is as follows:

This Website Hosting Company is like a property management company.
They make sure the doors to the shopping mall are open (are protected), all services work (are upgraded) and make sure your shop is always available to serve customers when they “knock at the door” (type your domain name into a web browser such as Chrome, Safari or Explorer).

There are a number of Website Hosting Companies and it is worth shopping around to find the right one for you.
Some popular ones are GoDaddy, 123-Reg, iPages, Fasthosts to name but a few (your website consultant or developer will be able to help you with this decision).

You are responsible for designing and making your website.
If you were doing the same for a physical shop/office you would employ your own Architect (Website Consultant), Designer (Web Designer), Builder and shop fitters (Web Developers) to make it all work for you and to meet all your requirements.

After that, you effectively hand over your website to a Website Hosting Company.
This is done by uploading all the files that make your website work to the Website Hosting Company’s “Web Servers.” Once this is done your website will be ready for someone to type your website address into a browser (Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox etc) so the Hosting Company can “serve” your website to them.

websideview web servers

Web Servers are special computers that store your website and “open the door” to “serve” the website to your customers when they “knock at the door.”

If anything goes wrong with the services when “serving the website” it is the responsibility of the Website Hosting Company to make sure they fix the issues so your website is always available for customers and clients.

However, if anything else goes wrong because of the way your website was built or due to ignored updates, it is your responsibility to get it fixed (you’ll often need to contact your web developer if this happens).

To avoid this happening you can agree a Service Level Agreement with your developer so they can look after your website to ensure all updates are done, your domain is renewed on time and to backup your website.

If however you are unsure and think you might be able to manage this by yourself, have a read of this article which gives you an Essential 4 Point Checklist for Managing Your WordPress Website Without a Developer

I hope that helps.

Next Article: Actionable Steps to Get Online

That is basically all you need to know about how websites work so you can now take the next actionable steps to make it all a reality (please feel free to get in touch if you are still confused).

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